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Cablegate: Country Clearance for Codel Baird/Shays

VZCZCXYZ0002
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHAK #1940/01 2111314
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 301314Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY ANKARA
TO RUEHIT/AMCONSUL ISTANBUL PRIORITY 3079
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3185

UNCLAS ANKARA 001940

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OTRA TU
SUBJECT: COUNTRY CLEARANCE FOR CODEL BAIRD/SHAYS

REF: STATE 101229

1. (U) Mission warmly welcomes and grants country clearance
to Congressman Shays and Mr. Nicholas Palarino. Anthony
Renzulli will be your Control Officer for Ankara. He can be
reached at: Office: 011-90-312-457-7178; Home:
011-90-312-442-1804; Cellular: 011-90-554-671-4877. Rusty
Ingraham will be your Control Officer for Istanbul. He can
be reached at: Office: 011-90-212-355-9385; Home:
011-90-212-351-6843; Cellular: 011-90-533-520-7031.

2. Reservations have been confirmed at the Ceylan
Intercontinental Hotel, Istanbul. Room rate is USD 180 per
room, per day (inclusive of VAT and breakfast). All other
logistical information will be provided in separate
communication.

3. (U) Visas: Please note that all Americans entering Turkey
must have a valid Visa. The only exception is military
personnel under CINC control traveling on NATO orders.
Military IDs are not/not acceptable travel documents.
Travelers with tourist passports can obtain a Visa valid for
one entry/three months at ports of entry upon payment of a
USD 30 fee in cash. (This fee is payable only U.S. dollars
cash.) Holders of official or diplomatic passports must
obtain Visas from the nearest Turkish Embassy (not Consulate)
before arriving in Turkey. Visas for official and diplomatic
passports will not/not be available at ports of entry.

4. (U) Health Safety: Information on vaccinations and other
health precautions can be obtained from the Center for
Disease Control and Prevention hotline for international
travelers (tel: 1-877-394-747); fax 1-800-232-3299; or via
the internet at HTTP//www.cdc.gov.

5. (U) Security Assessment: In light of ongoing military
operations in Iraq and continued operations in support of the
war on terrorism, there remains the potential for both
transnational and indigenous terrorist groups with
anti-Western sympathies, to include Kongra Gel (formerly
PKK), Revolutionary People's Liberation/Front (DHKP/C),
Marxist-Leninist Communist Party (MLKP) Turkish Communist
Party/Marxist Leninist (TKP/ML), Turkish Workers and Peasants
Revolutionary Army (TIKKO) and Islamic Greater Eastern
Raiders/Front (IBDA/C) continue to operate in Turkey.

Attacks over the last few years, attributed to these groups,
have occurred in the Aegean and Mediterranean coastal resort
areas, as well as in Istanbul. In Istanbul, most of the
attacks, generally small-scale bombings, have occurred in
neighborhoods not generally frequented by official Americans
or tourists. Also in 2005 and 2006 public buses have been
set on fire, with the most recent incident resulting in three
deaths. Thus far, these attacks on buses also have taken
place in areas of Istanbul distant from official American or
tourist destinations.

The Kurdish Freedom Falcons (TAK), a group ostensibly aligned
with the PKK terrorists, claimed responsibility for many of
the incidents noted above, and in April 2006 this group
issued a statement renewing a threat to target Turkey's
tourism industry. The most recent incidents claimed by this
group occurred in summer 2006 and included explosions in the
town of Manavgat (Antalya Province), Marmaris, and in the
city of Antalya. Both Turkish and foreign citizens were
injured and killed.

Violent demonstrations have occurred throughout Turkey, the
most recent in Istanbul and in several cities in Southeastern
Turkey. Just as with members of Mission Turkey, USG visitors
are required to obtain RSO Ankara and DCM approval for travel
to the Southeast

Al-Qa'ida threats to target U.S. facilities in Turkey have
been public knowledge for some time. On November 15. 2003,
two synagogues in Istanbul were the targets of suicide truck
bombs. On November 20, 2003, the British Consulate General
and the London based HSBC Bank in Istanbul were struck by
powerful explosions, killing dozens and wounding hundreds.
Though prosecutions of those responsible are still ongoing,
indications are that the Al-Qa'ida network supported the
indigenous radical Islamic terrorist group responsible. The
August 2005 discovery in Antalya of a potential plot against
maritime interests and subsequent arrest of a Syrian
Al-Qa'ida facilitator and planner further attest to the
ongoing transnational threat.

The incidence of crime, both violent and the more traditional
tourists crimes (pick pocketing, purse-snatching, etc.), is
relatively low throughout Turkey. However, over the last
year, there has been a marked increase in the number of
crimes reported to Consulate General Istanbul. Much of the
crime is centered in the areas frequented by tourists,
Consulate employees and official visitors. Visitors should
be particularly attentive for pick pockets in and around the
Sultanahmet, Taksim Square, and Istiklal Caddesi areas of
Istanbul. Often pick pocketing is preceded by some sort of
diversion, such as an argument or fight, or children asking
to assist tourists, for example with their bags. If you
encounter such activity, secure your wallet or purse and
quickly leave the area. Another scam that is becoming more
prevalent is that of a stranger approaching a visitor and
striking up a conversation, which is continued inside a
restaurant or club, at which point one is either drugged and
robbed or presented with an enormous bill and intimidated
into paying it. The security office encourages visitors to
report any security incidents, including surveillance, to the
RSO immediately. Useful security information about Turkey is
available on the following websites:
--Embassy Ankara: HTTP://WWW.USEMB-ANKARA.ORG.TR (Click on
Security Matters)
--Consulate General Istanbul:
HTTP://WWW.USCONSULATE-ISTANBUL.ORG.TR

6. (U) For further information regarding travel in Turkey,
consult the consular information sheet. The consulate
information sheet and public announcements are available on
the internet at: HTTP://TRAVEL.STATE.GOV

Other information is available on the following websites:

--The State Department Consular Affairs (CA) websites:
HTTP://WWW.TRAVEL.STATE.GOV/TURKEY.HTML

--US Embassy Ankara:
HTTP://WWW.USEMB-ANKARA.ORG.TR


Visit Ankara's Classified Web Site at
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/ankara/

WILSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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